IN A bid to avoid detection and arrest at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, a suspected Colombian drug mule on Sunday swallowed 79 pellets with what are believed to be cocaine with an estimated street value of PhP8.8 million.
Nevertheless, 67-year old suspect, Alberto Pedroza Quijano, was still arrested by members of the Airport Drug Interdiction Task Force Group (ADITFG) at the NAIA Terminal 3 following a tip from the United States government that he would be bringing in the illegal drugs into the country.
Quijano arrived in the country on board an Emirate Airline Flight EK 332 that flew in from Dubai.
The ADITFG said the suspect was immediately brought to the Pasay General Hospital where he underwent x-ray medical scanning procedure. Attending hospital staff later found rubber pellets in his stomach.
The task force also said that it took more than 24 hours before the medical staff excrete the rubber pellets from the suspect. The substance later was brought to the PDEA laboratory for examination, while Quijano underwent drug test.
According to the task force, what Quijano did to avoid detection and arrest is typical for a drug mule. It added that after swallowing the contraband, the mule would then transport his illegal cargo across borders and upon reaching their destination, the cargo is retrieved.
A drug courier can swallow up to 120 balloons and during their journey, they take medication to inhibit bowel movement. Once they have reached their destination, they are fed laxatives and the balloons pass through their bodies, authorities said.
In December 2015, a Venezuelan drug mule was caught with more than a kilogram of cocaine. Andres Rodriguez, 39, arrived from Abu Dhabi on board a Philippine Airlines PR657. He ingested 92 pellets of cocaine.
Last year, airport authorities made at least 15 arrests against suspected foreign drug couriers.
Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal said that they are sending strong message to drug syndicates that the “law enforcement agencies are joining hands to fight their way to a drug free country in order to provide a safe environment that is conducive for development.”
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